Friday, April 17, 2009

Mum's catching up with with me ... on Facebook

Source: Asiaone

WHEN his mother added him to her friends' list on popular social networking website Facebook, SIM University student Chris Chen accepted the request readily.

But she soon discovered photographs of the Honda motorcycle he had secretly bought and things quickly changed.

Mr Chen, 22, had not told her he had learnt to ride a motorcycle, or that the money he saved from working part-time had been spent on the two-wheeler.

'She got really angry about it, so I blocked her on Facebook,' he said, matter-of-factly. 'I don't want her to see the offending pictures till she can come to terms with my riding a bike.'

Mr Chen's situation, though prickly, may not be such an unusual one. An Australian survey last month found that one in four children has his or her parents as friends on online social networking sites such as Facebook. Adults aged 35 to 54 using Facebook doubled from 7 per cent of its total users last year to 17 per cent in January.

A final-year project by a group of students from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) found that parent-child relationships actually improved when they used networking sites like Facebook.

The study, funded by the National Youth Council, interviewed 20 sets of parents and children who were online friends.

Project member Lee Weiyi, 22, said parents read about activities and pictures their children put online to feel closer to them and to find common topics to talk about. But this works well only as long as the parents do not find objectionable content in their children's profiles.

'Of course, the children are generally more tech-savvy than their parents and know how to censor what they put online,' said Ms Lee.

Some youth, she added, delete images they know their parents will disapprove of, or prevent their parents from seeing certain photo albums by limiting access to 'safe' content.

Student Dew Low, 17, was amused, but not surprised, when her mother, Madam Dorrianne Yeo, sent a request asking to be her friend on Facebook. In fact, Dew's grandfather, Mr Eddie Yeo, 71, is also on her list of Facebook friends.

They use Facebook mainly to share pictures with relatives living overseas.

'It's a little unusual, but I think my mum is quite hip,' said Dew. 'I don't worry too much about what she'll see on my profile, since I only upload things I don't mind sharing publicly.'

Madam Yeo, 45, is not worried about what she might find in her children's online profiles. 'I won't intrude into their privacy. But if I see anything I am uncomfortable with, I would talk openly with them about it.'

If you're a good kid and have nothing to hide and then adding mom isn't a problem.
But we were never good kids were we? :)

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